Whites Only 6: The Future

is the emering church for whites only

Taken from “Is the ‘Emerging Church’ for Whites Only?”

[ I left a big chunk of the article out here but they interview some Emergent Village folk – worth reading]

“If the white male locus of Emergent is truly passé, then Emergent has the opportunity to become a part of the larger stream of the real emerging church. If the label of the emerging church is to have a future, then the term needs to be reclaimed and disassociated from the specific brand of Emergent, and applied much more broadly to the church around the world.

The burgeoning church is not just a small sliver of American Christianity; rather, it must be seen in the context of a larger movement of God on a global scale. The real emerging church is global and multi-ethnic—and a truly international, truly diverse emerging church has great potential to bring about authentic, deep revival to the world.” “Is the ‘Emerging Church’ for Whites Only?”
I agree. In many ways I feel it is a shame that only one group (Emergent Village) and only one country (USA) was examined for the writing of this important article. A wider look might have yielded a different result.
The label, actually, may not have a future. It might be too late and in fact, a good number of leaders have already dropped it and moved on to adopt newer terminology, even though their ministries have continued down the same track.
I am thankful that there is more openness to diversity but I think we have a long way to go. The Western church should ready itself for new waves of leaders that might surprise it. Yes, people of color. Yes, female as well as male. But also people with blue collars and not white, people who are not beautiful (thanks to Haddon Robinson for leading the way in this – hehe] people who did not come through the Seminary system, people who lean towards images rather than words, leaders who lead from a living room couch and not a sanctuary stage.
This is a challenge for the whole church. Thanks to the authors for writing it. I hope I did not detract from their main message by adding my own perspective to it.
Check out the other posts and feel free to comment. I will add some conclusion after listening a little more.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Well here’s a good test of whether it’s true or not: go to the great satire blog Stuff White People Like and check off how many things remind you of your emergent friends. My verdict: the emergent movement (USA & worldwide) is hopelessly white.

  • As am I, my friend. That’s why we need to spend more time in the Developing World…hehe

  • i agree. which is why we have spent about 80% of this year in the developing world (africa) and are still here.

  • guess i’m just sitting back and pondering a bit… with a glass of Vino! I grew up in a really diverse neighborhood in NJ… now it wasn’t all black and white…… in fact… it was more diverse in the “white” aspect…. Italian, Jews, Irish, Polish,Greek, English- were the basic make up…. Food was Amazing! part of my love of it came from all the holiday feasts and diversity of palate.
    Makes me really wonder, if God really does have a point about the dinner table… and the “banquet table” in heaven. Perhaps it really is getting back to the basics of missions… and actually sharing our table. I did a post on that on my blog – not too long ago, don’t know if you read it Andrew…
    oy….. i’m all about some diversity, but not Forced diversity.. Actually, i think Sunday morning in america is one of the most polarized splits going.
    There are white Baptist churches and Black Baptist churches… – the parking lots says a LOT about culture …… In the North East… it’s a bit more mixed tbh…… esp. in the Catholic churches…
    i’ve always wondered .. with Sunday mornings …. why is it that you don’t see Out- reach programs in the Black Baptist churches … to include the white population a bit more… but it doesn’t feel Racist….. just more “birds of a feather flock together” sort of thing– cultural bias if you will.
    The Jewish aspect of it is quite telling…. “on the IN or on the OUT” bits of it… My birth mum was Jewish… and when i share that with those that ARE Jewish… it’s like … i’m automatically “IN”…. some exclusive click. From the Jewish part of things, “if your mum/mom was a jew, then you ARE a Jew”….. so i float easier than most in those arena’s… plus i hold pretty close to the bone, that Jesus WAS Jewish and would be celebrating things in a Jewish manner…. So when i share that i’m actually a follower in the “way of Jesus”… there is almost a “nod” of understanding, in that i recognize… that Jesus Was and IS JEWISH…
    Is the emerging church, esp… here in the USA, predominantly WASP (white- Anglo-Saxon protestant) and more middle class……. ?????
    yeah i would have to say it is.
    Is that a bad thing….. No, not really… it’s just that it’s growing and learning.
    Andrew you have said, and i’m paraphrasing here … quite loosely…. that this year is marking some of the maturing process – no longer a “fad” or “new thing’…. and yes, it is… but if you are looking at the maturing aspect of things, then IMHO- it’s in the adolescent stage of things……
    Old enough to form an opinion on things, rebel against parental “modern” structures and still continuing to explore new or modified ways of “being” church.
    Thing about adolescence … is there are a lot of “cliques” – which i’m older……now,—- but not that old – that i’ve forgotten how painful it is… NOT to be in one….. or in the “in crowd” Having a Dobie Gray moment i gather… go google the lyrics…. “The “in” Crowd”… i think that was 1965… still a few years till i was born… but ‘eh…. it fits!
    The other part about adolescence, it it’s all about “Experience”… right? So i don’t think that the Emerging church or the Emergent… which ever format you hold to there, can correct “said situation” by trying to formulate a “plan”…. dang ain’t that the Masculine there…. “always trying to Fix it”- but it’s like when you first travel “abroad” …. new ground… new shores…. new language……….. You can go to all the “tourist” spots… or “conferences” … but unless you go to the local pub, you won’t get a feel for the flavor…. culture… texture and so forth.
    Unless you are AWARE of difference… you can’t partake in the conversation.
    Right now that awareness is dawning… there is a telephone call in the spirit, long distance perhaps…. but it’s calling to the “long distance”…. and if the emerging church is a sprinter or a marathon runner. i think it’s here to stay, but how well it “runs” this part of the race is still up for speculation i gather. How it runs on different soil/ terrain is all about that “experience”.
    I think you are still pioneering Andrew…. as you speak from that experience is gonna give many the insight they need to persevere and transverse some of these waters and terrain. So i can’t express enough that you log this journey. It’s not really as much about culture .. as it is about Kingdom. (every tongue, every tribe and every nation).
    I think if we start thinking of ourselves as KINGDOM people .. rather than just what part of the pond we are from, or what part of the tracks we live on… it’s gonna broaden the scope. We can’t help being “self referential” in our views on matters… and i don’t think we are supposed to amalgamate into some sorta Universalist blob………… but when we see ourselves as part of the whole and not such fragmented bits and bobs…. it’s gonna shift perceptions and perhaps a quantum leap into understanding why we are a “called out” people.
    don’t you think it’s interesting that G-d chose such a segregated people .. such ones that are “set apart” in order to bring about a people that are not just peculiar …. but are called to a Unity that transgresses on some matters… all our differences?
    Isn’t the beginning of Unity… means embracing our differences… eye colour…. bone structure… accents and what’s on our table??? What was the meaning of the Tower of Babel? — in trying to “fix it” are we just shooting arrows in the sky?
    Love you…. and yeah, i’m still asking the questions and learning how to Love Fiercely.
    xo cat

  • Thanks for responding to this Sojourners article critically and not defensively. You filled in a lot of missing background and history here. I find your perspective really helpful and have a lot of respect for your work. Peace & Blessings, A

  • This response was the most helpful for me. I think Rah missed an opportunity to expand the conversation by not presenting strong examples of multi-ethnic, outside of the US, emerging churches.

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